THRASHERS 4, PANTHERS 3
On some nights, Tomas Vokoun is going to have to be near perfect for the Panthers to win. On Wednesday, Vokoun wasn't anywhere near that level and the Florida offense couldn't find enough goals to bail their goalie out.
Despite out-shooting visiting Atlanta by double digits and tying the franchise record for shots on goal in the process, the Panthers found themselves on the wrong side of the scoreboard Wednesday night as the Thrashers left BankAtlantic Center with a 4-3 win.
Vokoun blamed himself for the loss afterward although coach Pete DeBoer took some of that weight off.
“We didn't get enough goals and that's the bottom line,'' DeBoer said. “We shouldn't give up four on  and we should get more than three on . There's fault on both ends. Two more saves, but on the other end, we get guys on the board we win regardless.''
Said Vokoun: “I played horrible, gave up two bad goals. We played a good game, had 50-plus shots. It wasn't a good game on my part and that happens sometimes. Obviously we were better the whole game. This one hurts. The guys played with heart and played well. A few more saves from me and we win no problem. The thing about goalies is sometimes you make a good difference, sometimes a bad one.''
Vokoun gave up four goals on Atlanta's initial 19 shots as the Panthers outshot the Thrashers 55-23. When the Thrashers took a 4-3 lead after scoring goals on successive shots within a 1:11 span, Florida was out-shooting the visitors 45-19. Florida broke the home record for shots on goal. In 2007, the Panthers had 54 shots in a win against Washington.
The Panthers got things going the right way in the first period after defenseman Jason Garrison scored his first of the season by driving a puck in from 40 feet away past Chris Mason. Atlanta answered late in the period as Fredrik Modin scored his first of the night by knocking a puck past Vokoun from his spot in the slot. That goal came with just 5.6 seconds left before the first intermission.
Modin got his second of the game midway through the second to give Atlanta a 2-1 lead. That was lost when Steven Reinprecht knocked down a pass from Bryan Allen and beat Mason with 2:07 left in the second. Florida added a goal from Bryan Allen (his first since March 13) to take the lead, but the Panthers and Vokoun couldn't hold on.
First, Dustin Byfuglien scored on a long shot from just inside the blue line to tie the score at the midway point. Just over a minute later, Vokoun gave up another bad goal as Niclas Bergfors drove one past the Florida goalie from the left circle.